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Tencent expands presence in China’s Xiongan New Area
 Tencent Chairman Pony Ma Huateng speaks at the China International Digital Economy Summit 2017 in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province on November 23, 2017. Photo: China Economic Net
China’s tech giant Tencent Holding Ltd signed a strategic partnership agreement last week with a local government, under which the company said it will set up a fintech laboratory and help promote the development of public service sectors in China’s new economic zone, Xiongan, according to China Securities Journal.
“Improving sense of happiness through digital economy is very important. In terms of basic necessities of daily life, medical service, education, art, culture and so on, Tencent will use its technology to improve those areas,” Tencent Chairman Pony Ma Huateng said during the China International Digital Economy Summit 2017 in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province on Thursday.
“Tencent is willing to fully play its core ability in areas of financial big data, financial cloud, block chain and artificial intelligence (AI) to comprehensively engage in the development plan of Xiongan New Area,” Ma said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of the Xiongan New Area in April, aiming to relieve population pressure on Beijing, and to build another economic zone following those in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
While the new economic area will be built as an eco-friendly smart city, environmental protection, traffic sensors, large data analysis and artificial intelligence will be its driving forces, according to state media China Daily.
Tencent is among the first batch of 48 companies that have been approved to set up branches in Xiongan, which also include e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding and Baidu Inc.
In September, Tencent set up a subsidiary in Xiongan with a registered capital of 20 million yuan, which will provide services of software and hardware design, data processing and storage.
“Xiongan New Area’s innovation-driven development mode highly coincides with Tencent, … and Tencent will interact with Xiongan frequently,” Ma said during the summit, adding that the company will focus on the innovation of five areas: finance, city construction, culture, industries, as well as talents, according to China Securities Journal. 
Speaking of the fintech laboratory, Ma said the firm will choose Xiongan as the first place to test its technologies in cloud computing, block chain as well as big data risk control, and apply those technologies to different scenarios from households and companies to government.
Tencent which is among the first batch of China’s national AI innovation platforms will also focus on the application of its AI medical imaging product Miying to medical diagnosis, assisting doctors in more accurate treatment.
According to a white paper issued by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China’s digital economy surged 18.9 percent in 2016 to 22.6 trillion yuan ($.3.35 trillion), and has accounted for 30.3 percent of China’s gross domestic product growth (GDP) over the year.
Digital economy, also known as the Internet economy, is based on digital computing technologies, comprising new business models such as e-commerce, cloud computing and payment services.
Speaking at the summit, Ma said digital economy will contribute to over 70 percent of China’s GDP growth this year, and Tencent will “use technologies to spur new growth momentum and help empower industries from retail to manufacturing, ” according to China Daily.
The signing ceremony came only a few days’ after the company became first Asian firm worth more than $500 billion and surpassed Facebook in market value.
Established in 1998, Tencent owned a series of Internet-based platforms and apps, ranging from social media and gaming, to artificial intelligence and information. Its largest social media network, WeChat, has already had 980 million monthly active user accounts as of November, according to Chinese media. Gaming also makes up a large part of the company’s revenue, driven by Tencent’s popular smartphone game Honor of Kings.
Meanwhile, the Internet giant continues to find ways to grow internationally, acquiring a 12 percent stake in Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat. Earlier this year, it bought a 5 percent stake in Tesla Inc.

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